How can history benefit the understanding of threatened species?
Blog by Tove Hultberg
Despite the small land area covered by temperate broadleaved forest, the habitat is of considerable interest for biodiversity in Sweden, and knowledge about its history is crucial for forest conservation. The main method used for studying past forest composition is pollen analysis, and by using a new model for translating pollen data into quantitative cover estimates, significantly improved understanding of the vegetation cover can be gained.
Local and regional pollen data from southern Sweden show that in many areas, large cover of temperate broadleaves prevailed locally until rather recently, which is likely to be an important cause for the survival of the many threatened species associated with these tree taxa today, although in small and vulnerable populations. Many present biodiversity hotspot sites showed no tendencies of local decline of temperate broadleaves until during the most recent 500 years, which is considerably later than in the region as a whole. For Tilia, the cover of which has confounded researchers since the introduction of pollen analysis, the decline in the southernmost parts of the country was not as early as commonly thought, but in general almost as recent as for many other temperate broadleaves. Land use changes, such as forest clearance for agricultural purposes, as well as grazing and browsing by domestic animals are likely to have been important causes for this vegetation change.
READ full version http://www.nbforest.info/blog/how-can-history-benefit-understanding-threatened-species
MSc Tove Hultberg, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre successfully defended her Doctoral thesis 13th February 2015.
Titel is "The long-term history of temperate broadleaves in southern Sweden"